It is another of the most famous squares to see in Madrid and one of the busiest magical places in the city.
Its origins date back to the 16th century and today the main Christmas Market in Madrid is held. On Sundays there is also a philately celebration.
Brief history of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid
Felipe II commissioned the construction of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid at the end of the 16th century and the works lasted between 1590 and 1619.
It was initially projected as a large market but over time royal weddings, autos de fe, bullfights and even executions of those sentenced to death were held there.
After several renovations, forced in large part by the 3 fires that have destroyed it, it is now an important meeting place with cafes and terraces as well as numerous street artists.
What to see in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid
The Plaza Mayor in Madrid is a huge arcaded square that is 94 meters wide and 129 meters long and is made up of a series of 3-storey buildings with balconies.
It is completely closed and you can count 237 balconies. In the center of the square we can find the Statue of Felipe III, a statue that was initially in the Casa de Campo but was moved in 1848.
Of the buildings we can highlight two, which are also opposite each other.
One of them is the Casa de la Carnicería, formed by 2 towers at its ends and which housed the central meat warehouse that supplied the city.
In front of it we find the Casa de la Panadería, also with towers at its ends and in which a bakery was originally located.
This house is the only one that is not the same in its decoration as the rest of the square and that is because the colors that adorn the facade are from 1992.
Among the 9 entrance doors to the Plaza Mayor, we highlight the Arco de Cuchilleros.As you may have noticed, the names of the points of interest in this square are the names of trades, names that they received in their commercial origins in the 16th century.
The neighboring Calle Mayor
Next to one of the sides of the Plaza Mayor we find one of the main streets in the center of Madrid.
This is Calle Mayor, a street that starts at Puerta del Sol and ends next to the Almudena Cathedral.
It is also a very commercial street and along which there are several very interesting buildings.
Among these buildings, the House of Calderón de la Barca, the Colonial Company Building, the Palace of the Duke of Abrantes, the Palace of the Marquis of Camarasa and finally the Palace of the Councils stand out.
What to see near the Plaza Mayor
Nearby we should also highlight the Palacio de Santa Cruz, which is the current headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but was initially built to house a prison.
Also worth mentioning is the Church of Santa Cruz, neo-Gothic in style and notable for its large 80-meter-high tower.